Anyone here play Space Empires IV or V?

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Gusset
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Anyone here play Space Empires IV or V?

Postby Gusset » Mon Oct 16, 2006 7:42 pm

Might be pretty hard to have tried SE5, given that its official release date is today...but I had to throw it in the subject line.

I tooled around with the demo a little, and it goes into much deeper detail than MOO2. That could be good or bad. Combat appears to be tactical or strategic in single player, but strategic for multi. It appears to be aimed mainly at the play-by-email crowd, which probably makes sense given the increased level of micromanagement needed, however it sounds like it has a "TCP/IP" mode that is very similar to how we play MOO2.

It uses starlanes, so I figure many folks here won't touch it ("Unclean!"). Personally I prefer not having them, but it's not a really big deal for me (certainly not a deal breaker).

Anyone spent enough time with SE to have informed opinions? The demo is good for 100 turns of single player mode, so I need to shake it out a bit. From what I've seen so far of the interface and layouts, there's a good chance I'm going to buy it. It also depends on what I can find out about the size of the online player base. The opinions of online MOO2ers will mean a lot to me as I decide.

Thoughts?

-Gusset

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Postby siron » Tue Oct 17, 2006 12:10 pm

Strategic just for PBEM or MP generally?

I fear the latter....I was interested in that game....and I am ok with starlanes. But no tactical combat looks a bit boring for me. And I don't understand the reason why they have done so. (Exluding it in SP makes IMHO more sense since the AI will suck there.)

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Postby Gusset » Tue Oct 17, 2006 1:54 pm

Siron, I think you are, unfortunately, correct: strategic combat for MP generally. One piece of information I am trying to find out is whether tactics can be "programmed", or at lease loosely controlled, for a ship or fleet in strategic combat. Since you can see a video replay of strategic combat to see how your ships' designs fared in battle, and since there is a "combat simulator" for testing designs, I am hopeful.

I've only got limited experience with the game, and only have a few forum posts by which to judge due to lack of online documentation for the game, but I have a guess as to why multiplayer is all strategic combat:

The game, due to its scope and very low level detail control, is intended mainly as a PBEM game for multiplayer. There is no real tight connection that goes on between players' computers. If you and I were to get online and play it in "TCP/IP mode" (which is somewhat analogous to how we play MOO2 online, simultaneous turns at a fairly rapid pace), it merely modifies the PBEM process into sending the data directly rather than in a file, I believe.

My hypothesis is supported by something someone told me on the SE5 Universe forum: even in TCP/IP mode, the host player has to MANUALLY hit a "process turn" button in the game to get to the next turn, very similarly to how a PBEM turn would be processed once the host has received all players' game files. MOO2 simply does it automatically because it keeps very tight control over things. My conclusion: SE is not written to have real time communication between players, which tactical combat would require.

Too bad. But I'm thinking it's still worth investigating, at least. Games of this type certainly have a broad following, and SE is highly spoken of, so there must be something to them.

Now I just need to find out if there is an active community of "TCP/IP mode" players, because playing a turn per day might be fun and worth doing, but there will always be a desire in me to spend several hours at a time cranking out turns like we do with MOO2.

Long post, sorry...

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Postby siron » Tue Oct 24, 2006 6:18 am

Hmmmm. Havent found any review yet. BTW, I visit this site here quite often:

http://www.metacritic.com/games/platfor ... ceempires5

Have you found anything about a ladder or so? I doubt it exists. It looks to me that these Space Empire players interpret their game more as an RPG than a 4X. It looks a bit like a micromanagement hell.

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Postby Gusset » Tue Oct 24, 2006 9:14 am

I won't buy the game in the immediate future, but will rather wait until the bugs are fixed. Judging by the history of the programmer and the other games in this series, patches will come and will generally keep coming for years as players shake things out; this guy actually has demonstrated that he is VERY conscientous about supporting his product. However at the moment, from what I've read on various forums, it's got a few too many bugs for me to want to buy it, including some difficulties with multiplayer. If I was unmarried with more time to burn, I'd do it in a heartbeat. But for now, I'll wait afew more weeks for prices to drop and another patch or two to come out.

re-micromanagement hell: I agree, it kinda looks like it. There are AI ministers and functions that can help the player out, but I don't know if they work well enough or not. I think this is one reason that many folks play via email. Kinda makes sense. I hope there's a way to cut it down to manageable levels.

The ships can be programmed somewhat for strategic combat, you probably saw it in the demo. I haven't tried it, but you can specify stuff like target selection criteria (based on enemy ship health, weapons, size, etc.), range to move to, retreat criteria, and when to break formation (eg. break formation when the core ships have been destroyed).

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Postby siron » Fri Oct 27, 2006 6:46 pm

I also read on their board.

Regarding the issues related to TCP/IP...I doubt they will fix them all.

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Postby siron » Sun Nov 05, 2006 9:27 am


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Postby Gusset » Sat Dec 02, 2006 12:25 pm

Well, in case anyone cares, I've now played a small number of turns of MP Space Empires 5. One of the ways its done is called "Play By Web", in which there is a web server that collects the turn files from the players, executes the game with those turns, and then distributes them back.

As someone who is accustomed to MOO2's pace, I would characterize this as "laid back". Patience is required for this game, in other words. Sometimes the turns progress several at a time, sometimes there are hours between. The mode of operation is to check back every so often between other life activities and see if a turn is ready to play.

Given this game's level of detail, with much more to keep tabs on, turns take longer for the player to complete, so the slower pace is in some ways a requirement...I can easily see turns taking 30 minutes or more as a game develops. Testing ship strategies in the combat simulator, for example, can take quite some time all by itself.

I have not yet played the TCP/IP mode, which looks to enable a MOO2ish pace. One bug left that, by the descriptions I've heard, will be a simple fix and hopefully in the next patch.


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